Philosophy of Sex and Love: An Opinionated Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Philosophy of Sex and Love

An Opinionated Introduction, 1st Edition

By Patricia Marino


280 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138391000
pub: 2019-03-26
SAVE ~$5.99
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138390997
pub: 2019-03-26
SAVE ~$22.50
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


Writing for non-specialists and students as well as for fellow philosophers, this book explores some basic issues surrounding sex and love in today's world, among them consent, objectification, nonmonogamy, racial stereotyping, and the need to reconcile contemporary expectations about gender equality with our beliefs about how love works. Author Patricia Marino argues that we cannot fully understand these issues by focusing only on individual desires and choices. Instead, we need to examine the social contexts within which choices are made and acquire their meanings. That perspective, she argues, is especially needed today, when the values of individualism, self-expression, and self-interest permeate our lives. Marino asks how we can fit these values, which govern so many areas of contemporary life, with the generosity, caring, and selflessness we expect in love and sex.

Key Features of Philosophy of Sex and Love: An opinionated introduction

  • Offers a contemporary, problems-based approach to the subject, helping readers better understand and address current issues and controversial questions
  • Includes coverage of sex and love as they intersect with topics like disability, race, medicine, and economics
  • Considers not only the ethical, but also the broadly social and political dimensions of sex and love
  • Includes a helpful introduction and conclusion in each chapter and is written throughout in a clear and straightforward style, with examples and sign-posts to help guide the student and general reader
  • A comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography provides a valuable tool for anyone’s further research

Table of Contents







Chapter 1. Sex, respect, and objectification


1. Sex as inherently objectifying: the view of Immanuel Kant

2. Feminist theories of objectification

3. Nussbaum on the varying aspects of objectification

4. Challenges for Nussbaum's theory



Chapter 2: Objectification, autonomy, and pornography


1. Objectification and social autonomy

2. Social autonomy and adaptive preferences

3. A social perspective on pornography

4. The "pornutopia" and pornography's falsity

5. Beyond the heterosexual context

Chapter 3: Consent and rape law


1. A short history of the law of consent

2. "'No' means no"

3. Communicative sexuality and non-verbal consent

4. The Antioch Policy and verbal consent

5. Affirmative consent, sexual autonomy, and the law



Chapter 4 Sex work: commodification and capitalism


1. Sex work and the law

2. Sex work as a free contractual exchange

3. Sex work, commodification, and the specialness of sex

4. Commercialized sex in context

5. Sexual surrogacy



Chapter 5: Theories of love: the union view


1. Why a theory of love?

2. The union theory and its difficulties

3. The relationship of self and "we"

4. The "we" as a merger of ends and desires

5. Love and irrationality



Chapter 6: Another theory of love: love as caring concern


1. Love as caring concern

2. Disinterestedness and reciprocity

3. Love and autonomy in the union and concern theories

4. Love, autonomy, and deference

5. Love and rationality revisited: appraisal and bestowal



Chapter 7: Love, Fairness, and Equality


1. Union theories and balancing

2. Concern theories and deliberation

3. Equality and fairness

4. Why a theory of love, revisited



Chapter 8: Orientations of sex and love


1. Concepts, terminology, and history

2. The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: conceptual complexities

3. The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: ethical and political complexities

4. Orientations and values of sex and love



Chapter 9: Love and marriage


1. The nature of marriage

2. Is marriage a promise?

3. Gender and the institution of marriage

4. Is marriage bad for love?



Chapter 10: Sex, love, and race


1. Race in cultural context

2. Some Problems with racialized preferences

3. Further evaluation: causes and consequences of racialized preferences

4. Marriage and racial solidarity






Chapter 11: Sex, love, and disability


1. Disability in context

2. Physical disabilities and sexual surrogacy

3. Surrogacy, intimacy, and love

4. Intellectual disabilities and complexities of consent


Chapter 12: The medicalization of sex and love


1. Medicalization and the "Viagra narrative"

2. The social control of women's sexuality

3. Recent scientific study of women's sexuality

4. Non-concordance and the interpretation of desire

5. Lack of desire and eagerness versus enjoying

6. Medicalization of love?


Chapter 13: Economics of sex and love


1. Economics and love: what is the problem?

2. Altruism and the possibility of "self-interested" love

3. Economics and sex

4. Sex, love, and economic methodology


Chapter 14. Ethical non-monogamy


1. What is ethical non-monogamy?

2. The values of ethical non-monogamy

3. The "paradox of prevalence and changing the law

4. Challenges for ethical non-monogamy.










About the Author

Patricia Marino is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where, in addition to philosophy of sex and love, she works in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of economics. She served as co-president of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love from 2008 to 2018, and is the author of Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World (2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: